Jul 28, 2017

A New Collaboration for Better Building

Education breaks the cycle of poverty
Education breaks the cycle of poverty

Aura Freedom is excited to announce a collaboration with Architects Without Borders (Architecture Sans Frontiers - "ASF") in Nepal.

ASF Nepal will act as technical assistants and contribute their expertise in architecture, engineering and anti-seismic building to this project. Given the ever-present risk of earthquakes in Nepal, anti-seismic planning is extremely important and we are very fortunate to have ASF Nepal on our team. ASF Nepal will contribute all of this without charging any consulting or professional fees.

ASF Nepal believes in "supporting projects that promote sustainability", and we believe there is nothing more sustainable than education. Educating children is vital to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and gives the next generation the tools to fight poverty. Educating girls, in particular, has a ‘multiplier effect’. Educated girls are more likely to marry later and have fewer children, who in turn will be more likely to survive and to be better nourished and educated. Educated women are more productive at home and better paid in the workplace, and more able to participate in social, economic and political decision-making.

Many of the children of Shree Bhumimata come from the marginalized 'Tamang' ethnic group, and staying in school is the only way they can escape the cycle of poverty and hardship. Rebuilding their school in a safe, yet creative way will ensure more local children can finish elementary school and go on to bigger and better opportunities.

A brief overview of ASF Nepal:

Architectures Sans Frontieres Nepal (ASF Nepal) is a non – profit NGO established in 2015 by a group of professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering and the built environment, aiming to contribute to the sustainable development of disadvantaged communities in Nepal by sharing technical and scientific expertise, thereby helping communities improve the quality of their lives.

 More specifically, ASF-Nepal’s aims are: to form a dynamic and cooperative platform for architects, engineers and professionals who want to exchange knowledge and experience with disadvantaged communities in the fields of technology and natural science, through long term contributions based on local needs and demands; to initiate and perform development related projects; to support communities to recover and reconstruction from any disaster; to support existing education programs; to support development programs that enhance the sustainability of communities; to support distribution of knowledge as a means to arouse the interest of organizations in Nepal’s development; to collaborate with other organizations in sustainable development projects; to research, promote and disseminate sustainable technologies and architectural and engineering solutions aimed at the development of communities.

We are positive that this new collaboration will result in an even better school and improved safety for the children of Shree Bhumimata and their families.

Damaged walls of the school
Damaged walls of the school
Girls who stay in school avoid child marriage
Girls who stay in school avoid child marriage
ASF Nepal will offer their building expertise
ASF Nepal will offer their building expertise
An aerial view of the damaged school buildings
An aerial view of the damaged school buildings
Jun 29, 2017

Speaking about the unspeakable

Women attend awareness on sexual violence
Women attend awareness on sexual violence

SOMETIMES, WE HAVE TO SPEAK ABOUT THE UNSPEAKABLE IN ORDER TO CREATE CHANGE

Speaking about sexual violence is not an easy thing to do, especially in a place like Nepal where the stigma of rape is profound. Often, the stigma experienced by rape victims can be just as painful as the act itself.

However, if WE don't open up the conversation about sexual violence, who will? The women and girls we reach through our Outreach program look to us to help start conversations which will ultimately help break the cycles of violence in their communities and create lasting change. 

Aura Freedom's project addresses rape through education and awareness, including information on the rights women and girls have to report acts of rape and seek justice. A taboo and delicate topic, project staff work hard to dismantle the harmful gender norms and stigma attached to rape and marital rape.

Moreover, through our program, survivors of rape feel like they have somewhere to turn. It is not uncommon to have women and girls come forward with their own stories after our local staff provides them with education on the laws surrounding rape and the rights that the women and girls have to live free from violence. Our Outreach program also addresses men and boys so that the change is sustainable. 

MEET BANDITA, AGE 34 (photo below)

Bandita is a dedicated Outreach participant. Despite living over an hour away, she hasn’t missed a session. Bandita had never seen or heard of anything like our Outreach program. She enjoys every minute of learning about women’s rights and gender equality, as well as the harms of gender-based violence and child marriage. She is especially happy to share with her children the knowledge she has gained on sexual violence and the importance of consent.

After learning so much, Bandita feels that women can do anything. While she herself was brought up to think girls shouldn’t be educated, she now strongly believes that girls and boys are equal and deserve equal opportunities in life.

USING OUR VOICE

We are not afraid to use our voice. Breaking taboos is the only way to foster better support and access to services for survivors of violence. Thank you for supporting this important work!

 

 

Local Police inform participants of their rights
Local Police inform participants of their rights
A baby rests while her mother attends awareness
A baby rests while her mother attends awareness
A girl participates in an empowering exercise.
A girl participates in an empowering exercise.
Bandita is a passionate project participant
Bandita is a passionate project participant

Links:

May 1, 2017

Fighting Human Trafficking with Education

In rebuilding Shree Bhumimata School after the 2015 earthquake, Aura Freedom is tackling a number of problems – physical danger and inaccessibility, low literacy rates, maternal and newborn health issues, and child marriage.

But there is another major issue this school and its retrained staff will address – human trafficking.

Human trafficking is one of the world’s fastest going crimes, and Nepal is no exception. The most common destination? India.

UNICEF reports that 7,000 girls and women are trafficked from Nepal to India every year. Girls living in poverty in rural villages are targeted and lured under the false pretense of lucrative jobs and returning to help their families. Instead, they are held captive and exploited against their will.

While trafficking is indeed a complex issue and requires a multi-pronged approach, education is a key component of such an approach.

With girls attending school and continuing their studies, they are more likely to secure good jobs, and their futures become more promising. The opportunity of an education can be the difference in a young girl’s life that keeps her safe from the threat of trafficking.

Furthermore, with the proper training, the staff at Shree Bhumimata School will learn about trafficking and how it occurs in rural Nepal, where the school is located. By ensuring staff are informed, we can help to keep all students safe.

The value of this school can not be overstated. For the young, marginalized girls in this village, it is everything.

Girls in rural areas are at risk of trafficking.
Girls in rural areas are at risk of trafficking.
Education fights that risk & creates opportunity.
Education fights that risk & creates opportunity.
 
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